Friday, December 1, 2023

Shake, Rattle & Roll Extreme


After almost a decade of hiatus since the last installment, the sixteenth film in the Shake, Rattle & Roll franchise, entitled Extreme, misses the horror slot at the Metro Manila Film Festival and is instead released early for everyone to enjoy. Staying true to tradition, you are served three segments not related to one another, each clocking in at less than an hour. For this latest revival, the three storylines focus on typical horror fare, in respective order: the Devil, Cannibalism, and Zombies.

GLITCH. 1993. A child in California is enticed by a TV show featuring a goat named Gary. It doesn’t take long before a malevolent entity begins to terrorize the lone adult in her household. Fast forward to present day Manila, six-year-old Lyka (Jewel Milag) feels unloved by her half-brother Patrick (Miggs Cuaderno) and neglected by her mother Ingrid (Iza Calzado). She finds refuge in an online TV show featuring a talking goat named Gary, which her nanny Hasmin (Donna Cariaga) quickly IDs as a modern-day incarnation of the demon Baal.

While the image of the devil in Baal’s typical black goat form seems foreign to Filipinos, whose concept of good and evil have always been Catholic-codified, the juxtaposition with angels and what many consider as forces of light in Christianity makes it easy to ride along. The plot unfolds in a simple fashion but does not elaborate on the nature of the evil being faced, perhaps due to the shorter runtime. The ending delves into the realm of fantasy/action which is refreshing but seems to stray a bit from the genre.

MUKBANG. A group of influencers: Chef Kino (Ninong Ry) and his assistant Isaac (Ian Gimena); power couple Vee (Jane Oineza) and Lionel (RK Bagatsing); self-absorbed Ashley (AC Bonifacio) and her martyr PA Hannah (Jana Taladro); gays Adele (Phi Palmos) and Beyonce (Esnyr Ranollo); are invited by newbie vlogger duo Rei (Elle Villanueva) and Robin (Paul Salas) for a grand mukbang collab in their swanky mansion. Unbeknownst to them, they are soon to fall prey to supernatural beings with a thirst for human flesh.

This one will probably emerge as the fan favorite as it attempts to merge suspense and comedy, and actually succeeds in doing so. Much of the hilarity is derived from the blatant jabs on the outrageous world of modern day influencers and their endless clout-chasing. The ending is not what most would expect but it works anyway by embracing the absurdity of the storyline. While the jumpscares are not scarce, it is mostly laughter that is evoked from the audience.

RAGE. A group of friends led by soon-to-be doctor Trina (Jane de Leon), boyfriend Moze (Paolo Gumabao), and bestfriend Alfie (Rob Gomez) head to the province so she can meet her mom in neighboring Santa Clara, but decide to spend a night at the river after being invited by their friend Coy (Bryce Eusebio) to watch a meteor shower there. Bong (Dustin Yu) picks up a meteorite and is infected by an alien organism that causes inexplicable rage, prompting him to harm Shai (Mika Reins). Soon, they discover that the angry epidemic has infected most of the town, and that they are among the few survivors.

We have already seen too many zombie narratives in the last decade. Aside from tweaking the origin of the outbreak to be of extra-terrestrial nature, which they do not really elaborate on, Rage does not really add anything new to the genre and primarily banks on the adrenaline rush of being in perpetual chase with agit zombies. The sad thing is that there seems to be a missing factor because most of us in the audience just did not feel any urge to join in the wild goose chase, nor are the characters sympathetic enough for us to actually root for any of them. Survivalist to the core, but somehow ends up to be boring.

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